<
>

Shaq plans to play Thursday

MIAMI -- Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal returned to practice Tuesday, one week after spraining his left knee in an awkward tumble against the Chicago Bulls.

O'Neal, who missed all but the first two minutes of that Bulls game and was held out of Miami's next three contests, said he plans to play on Thursday when the Heat visit New Jersey.

"I went through the whole practice," O'Neal said. "It was good."

O'Neal is averaging 22.7 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks this season, and has an NBA-leading field-goal percentage of 59.9.

Miami went 2-2 in the four games where it was essentially without O'Neal, losing in overtime to the Bulls and Indiana on the road, then sweeping a weekend home-and-home with Orlando.

"He looked fine," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said after Tuesday's two-hour workout. "He always looks pretty good when he plays."